UNITED NATIONS - Leaders are expected to discuss civil war in Syria, destruction of its chemical stockpile, and Iran’s contentious nuclear program during UN General Assembly
UNITED NATIONS – Leaders are expected to discuss civil war in Syria, destruction of its chemical stockpile, and Iran’s contentious nuclear program during UN General Assembly
World leaders began to flock to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in which leaders are expected to debate on the Syria crisis, the destruction of its chemical stockpile, and Iran’s contentious nuclear program.
State leaders from 131 countries and foreign ministers from 65 countries will participate in the UNGA while President Abdullah Gul will represent Turkey during the meetings. Leaders are expected to discuss the 2.5 year old crisis in Syria which further deteriorated due to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical gas, agreed to be eliminated through a Geneva deal by Russia and the US.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said in his remark on the UNGA meetings that he would make “a strong appeal” to world leaders to find a way out of the Syria crisis and to end the sufferings of Syrians. Ban stated that Afghanistan, Egypt, Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Congo Republic, the Great Lake Area and the Middle East peace process will be on the agenda as well. Ban noted that along with political problems, environmental and humanitarian issues will also be discussed.
Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani, who has been in the spotlight due to his remarks on Tehran’s nuclear program, the release of political prisoners, and a letter exchange with US President Barack Obama, will also participate in the UNGA session. Some wonder what kind of message Rouhani will deliver through his speech in the General Assembly. Speeches made by Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were boycotted by some leaders in previous years.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir applied for a US visa to attend the sessions. Although Washington declared that it was obliged to grant a visa to Bashir, some have appealed the US to arrest the Sudanese leader due to the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant on him. Bashir is accused of committing war crimes in the Darfur area. Washington is not obligated to arrest Bashir since the US did not sign the Rome Statute so as to become part of the court.
-Busy schedule awaits Turkish high state officials
President Gul, accompanied by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Sahin and Development Minister Cevdet Yilmaz, departed for New York on Friday. President Gul will address the General Assembly following remarks by the Brazilian and US presidents. Gul will reportedly meet with several leaders in New York.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will lobby for Turkey’s candidacy to the UN Security Council’s non-permanent membership for the 2015-2016 term and discuss the Syria crisis. Davutoglu will hold talks with his counterparts and participate in meetings with initiatives which Turkey co-founded, such as Brazil-Sweden-Turkey and Turkey-Bosnia Herzegovina-Serbia, on the sidelines of the UN schedule.
– Soccer match against domestic violence
World leaders will participate in social activities such as a soccer match against domestic violence. Bolivian President Evo Morales, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, Norwegian deputy Lene Vagslid, some permanent members to the UN and high state officials will play a soccer match to protest violence against women. British aid organization Oxfam will open an exhibition in which pictures of Syrian refugees will be projected in 3D.
Tight security measures have been taken in some parts of New York City with some streets closed to car and pedestrian traffic to ensure security. Some buildings were circled with concrete blocks to prevent unauthorized protests.